Many bloggers and tech pundits have criticized Windows Vista for being too sluggish. With Windows 7, Microsoft seems to be working hard to make a leaner and speedier operating system—starting with boot times.
Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Michael Fortin has written a piece on the official "Engineering Windows 7" blog to discuss startup times in particular. According to Fortin, Microsoft has set aside a team to work solely on the issue, and that team aims to "significantly increase the number of systems that experience very good boot times." Vague? Not really. Fortin defines a "very good boot time" as being less than 15 seconds, and he says only 35% of Vista Service Pack 1 systems today boot in 30 seconds or less. (That number comes from anonymous data gathered through the Customer Experience Improvement Program.)
The startup team has a number of tricks up its sleeve to make things better. Among those, the team has "focused very hard on increasing parallelism of driver initialization." Also, it aims to "dramatically reduce" the number of system services—along with their processor, storage, and memory demands. Fortin specifies, "Our perspective on this is simple; if a service is not absolutely required, it shouldn't be starting and a trigger should exist to handle rare conditions so that the service operates only then."
Windows 7 may not come out until at least 2010, though, so Microsoft has released a little something to tide over partners and enthusiasts. Available from the MSDN library, the Windows Performance Toolkit includes "tools [the boot-up team] use internally to detect and correct boot issues." Check out Fortin's full blog post for more details about both the toolkit and the startup team's efforts.